Career Success

In some sports, they track a statistic known as an “unforced error.” I’ve always found this concept intriguing. When a competitor does something exceptional and beats you, that’s a “forced” error. It’s when your opponent hits a nearly impossible cross-court groundstroke to win the set. It’s when you throw the batter your absolute best pitch [...]

A wise person once told me, “Making mistakes is how we human beings learn.” I spent most of my life trying to avoid mistakes and then beating myself up when I inevitably made them.  In hindsight, this was terribly arrogant of me, counterproductive, and a difficult way to live. It was arrogant because to never [...]

Over the years, I’ve homeschooled my kids in math. In the process of learning teaching methods for math, I came across the term “scaffolding.” In construction, “scaffold” refers to the temporary metal frame with large wood planks that surrounds a construction site. The scaffold gives construction workers a place to stand while working on the [...]

I’ve always been fascinated by turn signals on cars. It’s such a simple thing. You make the left light blink on the rear of your car to signal to others that you intend to change lanes or make a left turn. I’m fascinated by the dynamics around what happens when signals aren’t sent or when [...]

In a recent article, I wrote about How to Tell Someone They’re Totally Wrong. It was in response to my comments about music and learning how to write songs. That discussion and the flood of emails I’ve received (with very polar points of view) has probably been one of the most controversial topics I’ve written about [...]

I recently wrote an article about the difference between Planned vs. Emergent Career Strategies. The career plan is one you create at the beginning of your career when you have the least amount of information. The emergent strategy sometimes reveals itself in the process of pursuing the original career plan. New information emerges that was [...]

When you first learn a craft, it’s useful to learn the rules. As you master the rules, it’s useful to break the rules. The difference between learning, mastering, and then breaking the rules comes from understanding why the rules exist. Rules, rules of thumbs, or conventions exist around problems in a field that recur frequently. [...]

A product company like Apple invests heavily in research & development (R&D) to maintain its competitive advantage. One of the ways you can tell a CEO is managing for short-term results at the expense of long-term sustained success is when he or she cuts back on R&D investments. In the workforce, there are two kinds [...]

There are three key secrets to getting promoted in a consulting firm. Here is one of them: “Do what is needed, not just what is asked.” In your first few weeks and months in consulting, you will typically be assigned tasks. This is just temporary to make sure those who interviewed you did not make [...]

In consulting, your personal reputation is everything. It is the one thing by which everything else in your career revolves around. Here is the thing with reputations. Once your reputation is set (whether it is good or it is bad), it is very hard to change. If you are seen favorably, more partners want you [...]

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